Can't Blame PM for loss, say BJP leaders

Sun 08 Nov 2015, 11:42:11
Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi led a no-holds barred campaign in Bihar, his party is set to lose the election in India's third-most populous state. "This is a state election and not a referendum on central leadership or government," said senior BJP leader and union minister Prakash Javadekar to NDTV.

The PM addressed nearly 30 rallies and promising voters thousands of crores for development in a state with some of India's highest malnutrition and illiteracy levels.

Ahead of counting, Mr Javadekar said the party was "absolutely sure of our win in Bihar".

"It is the BJP that turned this into a prestige battle for the PM," said Nitish Kumar, who is running for a third term as Chief Minister. He formed an alliance for this election with his predecessor Lalu Yadav, who has served time in prison for corruption, and the Congress.

Party workers from their coalition were dancing in the street in celebration in the of capital Patna, more than two hours after counting started at 8 am. As the contest tightened in recent weeks, the campaign shifted to bitter issues along religious and caste lines. Exit polls released last week showed the parties running neck and neck, after voting ended on Thursday in the election held in five phases over a month.

After Delhi, this is the second state election which saw the PM leading an unsuccessful campaign for the BJP.

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